Limestone fifth-graders win biathlon banner contest

Natalie De La Garza, Special to The County
10 years ago

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    LIMESTONE, Maine — Out of 17 student works submitted to the Banner Contest for the recent IBU Youth/Junior World Cup Championships Biathlon in Presque Isle, Limestone’s fifth-graders were named the winner.

    “I felt like there was a lot of competition, but we had a lot of confidence and at the end, we got what we wanted and I think we learned a lot about teamwork and trying not to rule everyone — like trying to tell them what to do, and that stuff is good to learn for later on in life,” said fifth-grader of Katie McGough’s class Rebecca Pahel.

    Pahel specifically liked the top left corner of the banner, which contained an eagle, “because I thought it had a lot of detail and it really represented Maine,” she said.

    During the biathlon, which ran from late February through early March, athletes were greeted with posters of encouragement and celebration created by students from local schools; of those posters and signs, 17 met the criteria to be entered into the official Banner Contest, coordinated by the educational facet of biathlon volunteers under the direction of Elaine Hendrickson. There was a large educational component that went along with the recent biathlon, including classroom visits and fun lessons to introduce youths to the global biathlon competition.

    “My favorite part of the banner contest was the enthusiasm the students showed while displaying their banners and supporting the athletes by ringing their bells, yelling, dancing, singing, and stomping their feet,” Hendrickson described.

    Limestone fifth-grader Bryce West commented that watching the biathlon was a lot of fun, even if it was a little on the cold side.

    “It was really cool to watch because you’re watching these people work really hard and concentrating at skiing — it’s pretty hard!” he described.

    Hendrickson heard that those same hard-working biathletes appreciated the supportive banners and signs created by local children. The greater community voted on Facebook to decide which banner was the contest winner, and under the Norwegian Banner on the page, Penny McHatten of Presque Isle, who transported the Norwegian athletes from place to place, said that the biathletes from Norway were thrilled with the support.

    “Another parent from Norway told teachers from Houlton Middle School in a post how pleased they were for the support,” Hendrickson commented.

    To be entered into the banner competition, the poster had to include a flag of a participating nation and one aspect of the country depicted artistically.

    The poster contest may have had just a couple rules, but biathlon has scores of them — and Limestone fifth-grader Kobe West learned a lot about the biathlon this winter.

    “I learned that it takes a lot of years to train for it and you have to have a lot of energy to go around the whole thing, because you can get tired and you have to go, if you miss a shot while you’re shooting you have to go around a penalty lap,” he described.

    For creating the winning banner, LCS fifth-graders were treated to a pizza party on March 14.